CLARIN is a distributed digital infrastructure, with participating institutes all over Europe, such as universities, research centres, libraries and public archives. All participating organisations have in common that they provide access to digital language data collections, to digital tools to work with them, and to expertise for researchers to work with them.
CLARIN's governance and coordination body is an , that is, a European Research Infrastructure Consortium. An ERIC is an international legal entity, established by the European Commission in 2009. CLARIN ERIC's members are governments or intergovernmental organisations. Since 2012, several countries have joined either as full member, or as observer (in preparation for regular membership). The ultimate goal is to include all EU and associated countries, as well as third countries in or outside of Europe.
CLARIN is one of the research infrastructures that was selected for the European Research Infrastructures Roadmap by ESFRI, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures. In 2016 CLARIN received the status of a Landmark on the new roadmap.
The construction of the CLARIN infrastructure officially started on 29 February 2012, when the CLARIN ERIC was created, with nine founding members. CLARIN ERIC’s main task is to build, operate, coordinate and maintain the CLARIN infrastructure; it neither conducts nor funds research activities.
CLARIN ERIC was set up with financial support from the European Commission through the CLARIN Preparatory Phase Project (2008-2011), but is now entirely funded by the participating countries.